Explanatory Models of Recovery From Stroke Within the African-Caribbean Community in Canada
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Stroke is the most common serious neurological condition worldwide. Members of the Black population are at an increased risk of suffering a stroke due to several risk factors which are more prevalent in this racial group. The purpose of this qualitative research study is to describe how African-Caribbean stroke survivors, who live in Canada, understand their illness and manage their care during the early recovery period. Eight participants who were of African-Caribbean origin who were living in Canada and recovering from a stroke were interviewed. Results of the study indicate that participants were not knowledgeable about the risk factors for stroke, they did not recognize the warning signs of a stroke as a medical emergency, and they did not always follow treatment regimes recommended by their physicians. Participants in the study described stroke as a catastrophic event, resulting in feelings of intense fear, being out of control, uncertainty, yearning for their old self, and feelings of detachment from their own body. Motivating factors in their recovery from stroke were the support of family, their own individual personal determination, and the acceptance of the illness by the participants. Nurses and physiotherapists were valued by the participants due to the role they played in improving their functional abilities. Participants expressed a desire for nurses to become knowledgeable about the African-Caribbean culture, in order to provide them with education pertaining to diet as well as steps they can take to reduce their risk of having another stroke. Responding to the care needs of this population will require individualized nursing care which considers the influence of culture on how the illness is perceived.